Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cleopatra Keisha Joins Ashanti and Nefertiti Keisha

Cleopatra Keisha by the Keisha Doll Company 1983
Keisha as Cleopatra, a 23-inch, all-vinyl doll was found in early April for $9.99 plus shipping (shipping was $15!). She arrived gritty with bare feet wearing original pants and head wrap.  The pants were at her waist, exposing her bare chest. I assumed these should cover her chest; however, in an image in Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide 1820 to 1991 by Myla Perkins (Collector Books 1993) the doll's pants are oddly at her waist.


Described as Keisha Cleopatra B. (the company made three different Cleopatras, thus the B that follows her name), as shown in the book image, above, left, "the doll wears an original one-piece pant outfit in a beautiful African print, gold colored plastic necklace, gold sandals, white beads in braided hair... [and holds] a gold painted grass fan."  Keisha as Cleopatra A is shown on the right in the above image.  My doll's beads, if they were ever present, are missing along with her fan and shoes.  Her eyelashes were also missing, which made her eyes look bare and cold.  I added false eyelashes to improve her appearance.  See how this was done in the next four photos:

Upon arrival, poor Keisha's eyelashes were missing, gone, zapped!

To replace Keisha's eyelashes, I trimmed two sections from the corners of one false eyelash.

The cut eyelash sections were slid underneath the slit between her eyelids and eyeballs (the same area where her missing eyelashes had been).  The preplaced adhesive on the eyelashes is enough to hold them in place. So no gluing was necessary.

With eyelashes, Keisha looks so much better!


After cleaning her body thoroughly, adjusting her romper to cover her chest area, and adding the eyelashes, I pierced her ears and inserted burnt orange earrings into her earlobes.  An elasticized beaded bracelet serves as a necklace.  Both the earrings and "necklace" coordinate with the earth tone colors of the romper and head wrap.

The next task was to make a pair of sandals for Keisha.  Images and captions of how this was done follow:
Sandal Materials:  A card stock template of both feet (created by tracing each foot onto the card stock and then cutting the tracing out), foam cutouts using the templates in two contrasting colors for the innersoles and soles, two foam strips to create forefoot strap of sandal, and staple gun.

After measuring the length needed for the sandal strap to fit around the circumference of Keisha's forefoot, a strip of foam was cut and the ends stapled together with a staple gun, as shown above.  I lucked out here because the strap circumference fit comfortably around the base of the staple gun. Both side edges of the strap were stapled together.

The sandal strap was placed around what would be the innersole of the sandal and Keisha's foot placed between.  This was done to ensure a proper fit before the sole was glued into place.

Before gluing the sole into place, the underside of the strap was stapled to the bottom of the innersole, as shown.

Next, Aleene's Tacky Glue was applied to the bottom of the innersoles and straps.

The soles of the sandals were placed on top of the glued area of the under surface of the innersoles. 

Excess glue was wiped away from the edges and both sandals were placed under heavy objects and allowed to dry for several hours.

These are Keisha's completed sandals. A hint of the contrasting color used for the sole can be seen along with my uneven cutting.  I added a pyramid design to the strap.

In the final photo, Cleopatra Keisha joins Ashanti and Nefertiti Keisha.  Ashanti arrived in July of 2015 and was featured in a post which provides additional details about the 1980s Keisha Doll Company. As outlined in that post, Nefertiti was purchased during the late 1990s/early 2000s.

The Keisha Doll Company made over 30 different Keisha dolls representing a variety of historical females and males of African descent.  Very few of the 30+ dolls were dressed in everyday fashions, such as a school girl.

Do I need any more Keishas beyond these three?  No, absolutely not, but if a Keisha dressed in contemporary clothing crosses my path, I will stop at four.


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7 comments:

  1. Hello Debbie! Cleopatra Keisha looks so good after makeover. You did a great job as always. I am sure she is happy to be with her two sisters, Nefertiti and Ashanti.
    Take care of yourself and keep having fun!
    Arlette

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  2. Adding the earrings and necklace really gave her some extra oomph and now she can bat her eyelashes with the best of them.

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  3. You did a great job with her makeover. Those lashes really did the trick. :-)

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